Tsugio is like so many other little kids out there. He loves his manga, he gets picked on by bullies, and he brings a kitten home to the chagrin of his parents. Of course, this little kitten is hardly perfect, and eventually he's told to get rid of it.
On his way to drop the kitten off 'somewhere far away,' Tsugio is hit by a car. The (rightfully) concerned drivers run to his aid, and while Tsugio will be fine, poor Atom hasn't survived. Thankfully, our reckless drivers are actually aliens in disguise, and are able to pull Tsugio's memories of Atom and recreate him just as he was.
Well...the kitten is just like AN Atom...
A*tomcat is an adorable story of Tsugio and his kitten-cum-superhero friend. Atom helps protect him from bullies, rescues the girl (both human and feline) and even breaks up a smuggling ring, all while keeping up his adorable kitten alter ego. Not one of Tezuka's most serious stories, even here we see Atom dealing with being an orphan kitten and not quite fitting in with either other cats or his human companions. This is an adorable book, deserving to be in the collection of any manga fan.
Highs: The peeks into the story of Atom, as an American reader who didn't grow up with the comics, are a welcome look into one of the first, and most enduring, manga.
Lows: This is hardly deep material, and fans of Ode to Kirihito might be put off by the topic.
Verdict: A wonderful children's piece, with enough depth to entertain adults as well.
Further Reading: Unico, Pluto